Contemporary Short Story

* Allende, “And of Clay Are We Created”;
* Atwood, “Happy Endings”;
* Auster: “Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story” ;
* García Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”;
* Carver, “Cathedral”;
* Walker, “Everyday Use” Audio: “Everyday Use”;
* Rushdie, “Good Advice is Rarer Than Rubies”;
* Cisneros, “Barbie-Q.”
* PDF

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Contemporary unit projects:

Select ONE project from ONE of the authors listed below:

Authors:

Isabelle Allende, “And Of Clay Are We Created”:

 

1.The reporter’s story is about one girl. He becomes focused on her alone as people die and the earth shifts around him. Who is Allende’s story about; who does she focus on as changes happen to many characters? Choose one of the three primary characters in the story (the narrator, the reporter, the girl) and create an argument in essay form about why Allende makes this character the center of the story. Use textual details to support your answer.

 

OR

Margaret Atwood, “Happy Endings”:

1. Atwood writes, “You’ll have to face it, the endings [of stories] are the same no matter how you slice it.” Write an essay that either agrees with or disagrees with this statement, and use examples from at least two other stories to support your answer.

OR

Creative Option: Write a story that offers more than one ending for readers to choose from.
OR

Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”:

1. Creative Option: How would you describe a cathedral to someone who couldn’t see? What about a sunset? Choose a challenging image to describe and write out how you would “show” it to Robert? DO NOT USE VISUAL DESCRIPTION AS HE CANNOT SEE and most of the descriptions, especially colors and sizes, would not be comprehensible to a blind person who relies on touch, taste, hearing, smell and not sight.

 

OR

Sandra Cisneros, “Barbie-Q”:

1. Creative Option: Choose a toy or game that you played as a child and analyze what this toy or game suggests about gender roles and definitions.

OR

2. Research Option: Read at least three scholarly studies of the history of Barbie and Mattel and/or the impact of Barbie on American popular culture and write an essay discussing how Cisneros’s story responds to these issues.

 

OR

 

Gabriel García Márquez, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”:

 

Creative option: Brainstorm a list of stories you have heard or read that contain magical or fantastic elements. You should consider folktales, fairytales, ghost stories, and other tales from your childhood as well as fiction you have read in this class or others. Then, describe how these stories are different from more realistic stories. Do readers approach or understand fantastic stories differently? How is García Márquez’s story similar to or different from these other fantastic tales? Create an essay or a visual PowerPoint presentation to describe this.
OR

Alice Walker, “Everyday Use”:

 

Many images of quilts can be found on the Internet, including variations of the “Lone Star” and “Walk Around the Mountain” patterns mentioned in the story. Create a PowerPoint presentation using images and text, describing the symbolic meaning of quilts. Discuss the visual impact of the patterns, what the pieces represent, and how the quilts have been constructed. Then, make connections between these meanings and the themes in Walker’s story.
OR

Research Option: Read at least three historical sources that discuss the Black Power or “Black Is Beautiful” movements of the 1960s and 1970s. How does Walker’s story engage and respond to the central themes of these movements?

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